2010 Blue Duck MLB Awards Spectacular

November 12, 2010

2010 Blue Duck Major League Baseball Awards

I wrote most of this about a month ago.  All the picks were done before the playoffs.  Without further bullshit:

AL Rookie of the Year-
Neftali Feliz

22 years old

The only real no brainer of the postseason awards.  Feliz breaking the rookie saves record isn’t what impresses me.  Feliz throws hard, but more importantly has balls.  He has filthy stuff, but his out pitch is predominantly his fastball, and a closer who doesn’t have to rely on a secondary pitch, is deadly.  Here’s hoping he doesn’t turn into a Father-in-law beating slop thrower like the guy his career most notably mirrors right now.

NL Rookie of the Year-
Buster Posey
Jason Heyward will win this award.  I don’t know if Posey is even eligible, but Posey has meant more to his team than maybe any rookie in recent years.  The only stat Heyward has him on is OBP.  Posey plays in a bigger yard, at a more important position, on a team with less weapons.  Posey was the best catcher in the National League this season.

AL MVP-
Miguel Cabrera.

Miguel being Miguel

Another pick that I doubt gets the award.  I picked Miggy last year as my MVP, and he sobered up and had another solid season.  All of his numbers got better this year, but the Tigers faded and this is what will ultimately kill Cabrera’s chances.  What worries me is this guy is arguably the best overall hitter in baseball (yeah, I said it, better than Pujols.) and he may never win an MVP.

Last year, I showed a comparison of striking similarity between Cabrera statistics up to age 26, and Ken Griffey’s to the same age.  He stayed on that Griffey pace.  The reason Cabrera is the MVP, though, is the lack of help in his lineup.  Hamilton had Nelson Cruz, Vladi, Michael Young, and Ian Kinsler at different times of the year.  Cano had the Yankees.  Cabrera’s lineup is among the deepest if all healthy, but Carlos Guillen played less than 70 games, and Magglio Ordonez played right around half the year.  No one else had more than 15 hr’s for the Tigers.

Further proof:  Cabrera had 32 intentional walks, Hamilton 5, Bautista 2, Cano 14.

The Rangers win a closer West without Hamilton, the Yankees finish third without Cano, Tigers finish 20 games below .500 without Miggy.  He had the biggest impact on his team.  He should be the MVP.

2nd- Josh Hamilton
3rd- Paul Konerko
4th- Robinson Cano
5th- Beltre/Bautista

NL MVP-
Carlos Gonzalez.
This is a tough call.  The late surge by Troy Tulowitkzi and the late fade of the Rockies hurt him at the end, but his numbers are staggering.  CarGo (terrible nickname) finished first in the league in hits, total bases, and batting average, 2nd in RBI’s and slugging, and 3rd in OPS.  All this while swiping 26 bags, and playing well at all 3 outfield positions in a rather expansive Coors Field outfield.

Pujols and Votto sort of cancel eachother out, but I think Votto will get the award.

It should be a Venezuelan clean sweep for MVP.

2nd- Votto
3rd- Pujols
4th- Aubrey Huff.  He’s the fuckin’ man.
5th- Tulowitzki’s numbers in 122 games would’ve made him a favorite if he played say, 20 more.  Also, would’ve made the Rockies a playoff team.

AL Cy Young-
Felix Hernandez
CC is the pick right now, but King Felix has all the numbers.  Well, all the numbers except a clear lack of wins.  The debate will always rage on over whether MVP and Cy Young award winners can come from bottom of the barrel teams.  It tends to factor in more for offensive players than pitchers, but Felix will get knocked for this.  Anyone who picks someone else for this reason alone didn’t look at the stats.

Hernandez had 13 wins on the season.  This wouldn’t be all that impressive if his wins were against teams from the lowly AL West, but he actually struggled within the division.  11 of his wins were against teams with winning records, and he pitched the Yankees better than any other starter in the league.

His season line against the Yanks.  3-0….2 Complete games, 1 Shutout, 0.35 ERA, a WHIP under 1 and 31 K’s in 26 innings.

Hail Venezuela.

2nd- Clay Buchholz
3rd- David Price
4th- CC Sabathia

NL Cy Young-
Roy Halladay.
Just better than everyone else.  Pitching names come and go and Halladay puts up the same stats every year.  Why is he the Cy Young, though?  Well, the Phillies were falling apart midseason.  The shit was hitting the fan, and their one steady performer took the hill every 5 days.  The pickup and performance of Roy Oswalt at the deadline ended the NL East race, but Halladay kept his team in position for much of the year.

2nd- Josh Johnson
3rd- Adam Wainright
4th- Roy Oswalt

Too bad Carlos Zambrano didn’t have a good year.  Would have been a banner year for the land of Hugo Chavez.

Throw in Awards:

Hit the Showers, Wife Beater.

Closer of the Year-
AL- Mariano Rivera- still got unbelievable numbers, still only has one pitch.
NL- Carlos Marmol- not the best, but unbelievable year for K’s.  16K’s per 9 innings.

Comeback player of the Year-
AL- I don’t care.
NL- Don’t care either.

Manager of the Year-
AL- Ron Gardenhire- The Twins have no pitching, and a thrown together lineup.  Ron did a lot with this squad.
NL- Bobby Cox- Give the old guy a good send off.


Metrodome Madness, Part 2: Twins/Tigers Didn’t Disappoint

October 6, 2009
This game really brought back memories of the Metrodomes heyday.  Kirby would be proud.

This game really brought back memories of the Metrodome's heyday. Kirby would be proud.

The game that I previewed here, proved to be the best game of the 2009 season, by far.  It may have been the best tiebreaker game in Major League history, and that includes a few gems.  It was a 12 inning masterpiece where its hard to think of a guy who played poorly.  Whenever someone made a bad play, they came back and made a good one seemingly seconds later.  In fact, the game was steeped in redemption, and it made for classic baseball.

Miguel Cabrera came in with a bit of a rap sheet, and owed something to the Detroit fans after a raucous weekend that included a lack of pounding baseballs and a surplus of pounding brews.  Cabrera hit a Scott Baker pitch roughly 8 miles for a 2-run jack in the 3rd inning to put the Tigers ahead 3-0, and the redemption began…

Rick Porcello and Scott Baker both pitched better than expected.  Porcello, at 20, showed he will be around for awhile.

Rick Porcello and Scott Baker both pitched better than expected. Porcello, at 20, showed he will be around for awhile.

In the bottom half, Rick Porcello (who pitched his ass off) pulled a boner with two outs on a pickoff play to first.  Matt Tolbert scored when the ball got away from Miguel.  Porcello pitched around Joe Mauer to load the bases, but came right after Jason Kubel and struck him out, celebrating as he ran off to the dugout.  Kubel redeemed himself with one of the longest homers I’ve seen at Hubert H. Humphrey in the 6th.

Ryan Raburn left his feet for a ball that Michael Cuddyer hit his way in the bottom of the 10th.  He missed the flair by a wide margin, and Cuddyer got around for a leadoff triple.  He would eventually score, but Raburn hosed Alexi Casilla on a sac fly turned double play later in the inning.  Alexi’s run would have ended the game.  Casilla failed to get back to third base to tag until after Raburn had caught the ball.

But alas, in this game of redemption, Casilla got his chance, too.  And he made the most of it by singling in Carlos Gomez on a grounder through the right side in the bottom of the 12th.  That hit won the game, and the Twins celebrated along with 55,000 fans.

They pulled up that curtain in right center for todays game, and the stadium has never looked better or been louder for a baseball game.

They pulled up that curtain in right center for today's game, and the stadium has never looked better or been louder for a baseball game.

The Metrodome was alive today.  And despite the fact that you could clearly make out the endzones up the first baseline and out in left field, the playing surface looked great.  The crew must have worked deep into last night getting this field ready after the Favre-fest, Monday.

It was one of those games where watching on TV was really not enough.  The longer it went, the more I wanted to be there.  They opened up the Metrodome’s top deck to make more room for fans, and it really changed the complexion of the ballpark, and the game.  I am happy to see the stadium go, but I am also happy it lived up to its potential in one of its final games.

In a game where no one played bad, it is usually hard to pick an MVP, but I think Nick Punto was the clear winner in this game.  Nick Punto really personified the Twins tonight.  There are very few “ballplayers” left in baseball, and this guy showed baseball fans what that term really means.

Punto rarely hands a clean uni in after a game...MVP of this game.

Punto rarely hands a clean uni in after a game...MVP of this game.

Punto went one for four.  Not so great, but the second baseman saw 32 pitches.  Grinding out at bats got Porcello out of the game and got the Twins deeper and deeper into the Tiger’s ‘pen until they pretty much ran out of guys.  Punto had a huge at bat in the 7th when he fought off a few pitches and grinded his way to a single.  Orlando Cabrera homered two batters later and the Twins took the lead.

In the 9th, Punto led off with another hard battle that led to a walk.  The Twins failed to get him around.  He came up the 11th with a chance to put the game away and did his job, hitting a ball hard to right that ended up leading to the Raburn-redemption double play at the plate.

Maybe the biggest and most telling play that Punto made on the night came in the top of the 12th with one out, and the bases loaded.  In a tie game, Brandon Inge hit a chopper toward the middle, and Punto swooped in and threw out Miguel Cabrera at the plate.  It was one of those plays that does not seem big, but if he hesitates at all, they get nobody out.  It was a “ballplayer’s” play.

So, Punto and the Twins won this one.  They earned the right to celebrate for ten minutes, hop on a flight, and realize they have no pitching against the Yankees at 6 PM tomorrow.

Gardenhire proved he could coach playoff baseball, tonight.

Gardenhire proved he could coach playoff baseball, tonight.

Actually, Ron Gardenhire, by being cautious with his pitchers and matching up against hitters, really preserved his bullpen despite the long game.  None of his starters had to relieve, and the longest any of his guys threw in relief was Joe Nathan, going one and two-thirds.  Jim Leyland was not as cautious, and the Tigers would be in trouble if they were playing tomorrow.  Still, the Twins have a tall order tomorrow in the Bronx.

I hope you got to watch this game, if not, check out the highlights.  October baseball is finally here, and you could not have picked a better game to start things off.